Mission & Philosophy
The Nepal Youth Foundation offers hope and opportunity to Nepal’s most impoverished children by providing them what is every child’s birthright: vital healthcare, education, and a safe environment.
Since 1990, NYF’s work supporting children has helped Nepal make tremendous headway as the country tackles daunting social challenges. Children are the future of any country, and Nepal is no different. We’ve helped transform the lives of over 60,000 children since NYF started, and we’re eager to continue.
We are committed to giving children the chance to succeed. Kids in Nepal are facing some of the toughest hurdles in the world—and they’re doing so with grit, determination, and hard work. At NYF, we’re investing in their efforts, providing barrier-breaking solutions that allow each child to participate more fully in their society.
Each dollar stretches a long way once it reaches Nepal, with relatively small investments providing life-changing opportunities to children and young people—opportunities that empower families, communities, and even have a positive impact on countrywide structural changes!
- Increase access to education for children in Nepal, from kindergarten through medical school, law school, or vocational programming
- Improve the quality of education available in the country
- Improve the health of children throughout Nepal, with a special focus on nutritional health and mental wellness
- Empower Nepalese youth to achieve their potential, no matter their background
- Enable girls in Nepal to receive equal treatment, education, and financial opportunities
How we achieve our goals
- We take a highly personal approach to the children and families we serve, even when that takes more time and energy (and it often does). Individual circumstances are highly variable, and sustainable solutions help individuals tackle their unique challenges while engaging their unique strengths.
- We emphasize the development of personal and social responsibility in the children we support.
- We focus on children facing the toughest challenges, including discrimination based on caste, religion, ethnic heritage, or gender, as well as children affected by physical disabilities, family hardships, generational poverty, or economic instability. We often are the safety net these children need to ensure they can overcome obstacles and achieve their dreams.
- We deeply admire and respect Nepal’s cultures and societies, striving to promote them in the children we serve. All staff members in Nepal (leadership and program staff alike) are native Nepalese, many of whom have personal experience with the challenges our kids are facing. Programs developed by NYF begin first by exploring traditional Nepalese resources for inspiration.
- We protect and empower the family unit wherever possible.
- We forge strong partnerships with locally led, grassroots NGOs in the communities we serve and with village and town-based governments to ensure holistic, appropriate care is being offered where it is needed most.
- In our hiring practices and services, we actively foster tolerance and diversity. We work to dismantle societal stratification linked to caste, religion, disability, ethnicity, and political affiliation. No one is “untouchable.”
- We do not proselytize and are not affiliated with any religious group.
Our founder, Olga Murray, speaks of individual impact in stark terms: “For the cost of a dinner out in San Francisco,” she says, “you can save a child’s life at a Nutritional Rehabilitation Home.” NYF’s President, Som Paneru, often takes a broad, expansive view: “Education is the key to mitigating the social hierarchy. If you educate children properly, the hierarchies—the barriers in society—can be destroyed in a generation. It might take twenty years to educate one generation. That’s okay. Invest in education.”
NYF focuses on individual lives, with the understanding that seemingly small changes can create space for far-reaching social impact.
We’ve freed girls as young as six years old from domestic slavery for the cost of a piglet each (around $100). During the COVID-19 pandemic, we provided pandemic-safe Access to Education to thousands of rural children for only $10 per student.
In Nepal, sometimes a few hundred dollars a semester (dorm rent, meals, and bus fares) is all that stands between a gifted student and the full-ride college education they’ve already earned from the Nepalese government. A few thousand dollars can fund a Nutrition Outreach Camp in a rugged area only accessible on foot, getting up to 1,000 children screened for malnutrition and other health needs, and connecting caregivers with practical home health education workshops and resources that last them a lifetime.
Developing and Implementing Programs and Commitments
When NYF was founded, Olga Murray often repeated two principles:
- We finish what we start.
- We will not abandon children who have entered our fold. They have been abandoned too many times already.
NYF takes seriously the trust dependent children place in us—so before we take on children who will depend entirely on us, we ensure that we have the necessary financial and logistical stability to make that commitment. Likewise, we always have sufficient logistical and financial support in place before launching programs and making promises to Nepalese communities.
Since we cannot do everything, we do thoroughly what we can do—whether a small act or a major program—from inception to completion and follow-up.
We manage NYF’s growth carefully and intentionally, developing programs in the contexts of local need, potential, and participation—not in terms of organizational ambition. We favor “slow but sure” growth that involves Nepalese communities and organizations.
At the same time, we value our ability to nimbly cut through red tape and act quickly and strategically exactly when needed (an ability made possible by the strong bonds of community trust we have formed across multiple sectors in Nepal).
We prioritize culturally appropriate, meaningful interventions that can make significant, enduring improvements in children’s lives. Education is usually our largest annual focus: education empowers students from all backgrounds to break out of cycles of oppression and begin building positive change at home and beyond.
We creatively “bundle” our interventions with sustainability measures, emphasizing self-sufficiency wherever possible. For instance, our nutritional programs focus on restoring children to good health—but they also provide education to caregivers about preparing locally available foods to prevent future malnourishment. These caregivers are encouraged to share this valuable information with other families in their home villages.
Managing Internal Affairs
To ensure we can continue keeping our promises to the children in our care, NYF is fiscally prudent to ensure long-term stability. We take great pride in stretching the reach of every dollar donated to us.
We feel an enormous responsibility to translate our donors’ generosity into meaningful impact in helping Nepalese children. Our loving supporters have expressed their values through their philanthropy, entrusting us with their intentions. We keep our donors informed of the outcomes they make possible. In Nepal, we are astute but generous in sharing resources, whether logistical or financial, with other Nepal-based efforts to help the children and families we serve.
We operate with integrity, transparency, and high ethical standards. While we are motivated by compassion, we carry out our work with professionalism. Underlying NYF’s work is a group of capable professionals who bring years of experience and skill to our mission. Our work involves not only love for children but development of systems, follow-through, and endless details, all tuned toward the single goal of enhancing our ability to help children develop into healthy, capable, resilient, successful, and joyful adults.
We evaluate our programs regularly to determine how they can be more effective. The evaluations include measuring outcomes for children, their parents, and their communities, comparing these outcomes to similar metrics in previous years, and comparing the health and academic progress of children we support to the national averages in Nepal.
Nepal and its infrastructure are developing rapidly across multiple sectors—and NYF is so proud to be part of this progress. As needs change for communities across Nepal, NYF’s team works to match programming to these shifting conditions. Programs change little by little from one year to the next—and that’s a good thing! It’s evidence that our work is having an impact, and that we are learning new ways to help the children we serve.
We solicit a comprehensive evaluation from an outside firm every five years. In addition, the Social Welfare Council of the government of Nepal evaluates our organization every five years.
The Nepal Youth Foundation’s staff in Nepal has a wealth of experience with operating effective programs that help children in sustainable ways. They are entirely Nepalese and are deeply committed to improving the lives of the children in our care.
Approximately 86 staff members implement NYF’s programs in Nepal, including full-time house parents in Olgapuri Children’s Village, nurses in our New Life Center, social workers in our Scholarship office, and trainers at Olgapuri Vocational School.